Selection, perception and action

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: School of Psychology


Disorders of perception and action occur in a wide range of neurological disorders, from stroke and closed head injury through to degenerative diseases such as Parkinson s and Alzheimer s. To understand the nature of the problems suffered by such patients, we need to develop greater knowledge of the functional and neural processes that govern perception, attention and action. This is the broad aim of this Co-operative Group. The group links researchers concerned with basic processes in perception (audition, vision, touch), with researchers working on attention and motor control. To develop an understanding at both a functional and a neural level, we will use a range of research techniques stemming from psychophysical studies of normal observers, through to studies that measure neural processing on-line (event-related brain potentials, functional brain imaging, trans-cranial magnetic stimulation), and neuropsychological studies of patients with problems in perception, attention and action. By linking across these different research techniques, we aim to develop a detailed understanding of how sensory and attentional processes guide action, and, in turn, how action influences perception. The results will be simulated in explicit computational models. We will use any advances in basic scientific knowledge to develop theoretically-informed rehabilitation techniques for neuropsychological patients.

Technical Summary

This Co-operative group will integrate researchers using inter-disciplinary techniques to characterise the functional and neural mechanisms for selective perception and action. The studies will use: (i) psychophysical measures, (ii) event-related potentials (ERPs), (iii) trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), (iv) functional brain imaging (fMRI)and (v) neuropsychological analyses of patients with selective brain lesions, in order to understand how multiple sources of sensory information are selected and integrated in perception and action. We will use the emerging results to develop explicit computational models, that interactively link perceptual input to motor performance, and we will evaluate rehabilitation procedures based on theoretically-informed approaches to sensory-motor integration.


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Description ESRC, Project Grant
Amount £120,000 (GBP)
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2007 
End 09/2009
Title BUCS 
Description Cognitive swcreen for acute stroke 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2008 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The instrument is being taken up by occupational therapy departments across the West Midlands 
Description Ongoing work 
Organisation Imperial College London
Department Division of Brain Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Joint research
Impact Pub Med 16537358 - 16257030 19307566 17563233 17940037
Start Year 2007
Title music intervention 
Description Effects of pleasant music on unilateral neglect after stroke 
Type Therapeutic Intervention - Psychological/Behavioural
Current Stage Of Development Early clinical assessment
Year Development Stage Completed 2009
Development Status On hold
Impact Impact is being examined in a more protracted clinical trial 
Description therapist meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Health professionals
Results and Impact Ongoing series of workshops linked to neuropsychological rehabilitation

Ongoing rehabilitation papers
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007,2008